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 Location: Chaz D'egua, Signposted from Arganil.  Grid Reference: 40.233˚ N, 7.816˚ W.

 

chas d'eguas spiral, ancient-wisdom.com      PiodŠo : (Cart-ruts, Rock-art).

The schist village of PiodŠo has long been a popular place for Portuguese to visit.

The discovery of numerous nearby examples of bronze-age rock-art, cart-ruts, and several spirals, (of which the photo on the right is the largest),  has greatly re-enforced the value of visiting the area.

 

(Map of the area - how to get there)

 

 

   PiodŠo: ('Vale d'Egua', Valley of the Mare')

The Spiral - This giant example of spiral-art was recently discovered near PiodŠo. The discovery of numerous other examples of rock-art, or 'Arte rupestre',  in the same area (including several other spirals), elevates the potential significance of this location on the megalithic landscape.

This spiral is carved on a stone over a metre long, which appears to be still attached to the bedrock. The top surface looks as though it may have been 'worked' into its parabolic form, although it is equally likely that it is a natural formation, and might even be the reason for selecting this stone. It looks as though the design on top is still complete, having been carved onto the rock in the same shape we see it today.

There are two or three cup-marks on the rock and on the rock next to it, which looks as though the front half of it has collapsed on the ground in front of it. One wonders whether there might be other carvings on the face down part of the rock.

chas d'egua spiral, ancient-wisdom.com

The design on the stone consists of a spiral which continues to become an 'animal' figure (which has been suggested as being a horse), then continues to zig-zag up and down the rock several times, before forming another shape (as yet unidentified), then zig-zags up and down again several more times before ending (or possibly starting) at the top of the rock in a distinct cup-mark.

 

 

The 'Horse' - This feature has been suggested as being a horse, in relation to the name of the site which is the 'Vale d'eguas', or 'valley of the mares'.

 

 

The 'Footprint'.

On the rear of the stone is a 'foot-print' shaped motif (See right), a symbol which is found on several other stones in the region.

The same area has produced over 50 examples of rock-art, seemingly scattered around on the rocks, however, their abundance in such an isolated location , as well as the proximity  of many of the carvings to the cart-ruts, known locally as 'strada's real', or 'royal roads', make it likely that the area had some significance in the past. The presence of carved 'feet' and carved crosses, is suggestive of a ceremony.

The association between these two symbols has been noticed before by Paturi (1), who suggested that the carved 'feet' are evidence of marriage ceremonies, and that the crosses signified the later 'Christianisation' of such areas.

 

 

Extract from Paturi (1) : 'On the Hexenstein the witches stone near Terenten... which was most certainly also a fertility rock, our Bronze age ancestors did not carve just cup forms onto the rock. It is also possible to distinguish quite clearly the imprint foot chiselled into the stone. In places this symbol on the rock carvings is relatively frequent'. Paturi continues 'Various scholars of prehistory have given different interpretations of the foot imprints'. He then quotes Karl Lukan, who maintained that the footprints are those of brides and were chiselled at the marriage ceremony. 'They were in fact marriage documents made of stone'.

 Interestingly, Paturi then says 'these rites were often preserved for centuries, which was a thorn in the flesh of the Christian church...The church endeavoured, often unsuccessfully, to wean its lambs from the worship of pagan deities...They decided to combat ancient magic with newly invented magic using the sign of the cross to banish witches and evil spirits'.

The cross in the photo (above, left), was also found carved into a rock at Piodao.

 

 The Piodao Cart -ruts - 'Strada's Real'.

As Well as the numerous examples of rock-art, Piodao also has a good example of cart-ruts or 'Strada's real', running along the hill-tops close by. Unlike the Maltese cart-ruts however, these are traditionally associated with pilgrimage.

These ruts were apparently used until relatively recently, however, their antiquity is indicated by the many examples of prehistoric rock art or 'arte rupeste' found alongside the ruts.

(More about the 'Portuguese cart-ruts')

 

(Cart-Ruts Homepage)

 

(List of Prehistoric Portuguese sites)

(Portugal Homepage)

 

 

 

References:

1) Felix. R. Paturi. Prehistoric Heritage. 1976. Macdonald and Janes.

 

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